§ MR. BRAND (Cambridge, Wisbech)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the carriage of potatoes in two ton lots, from the Wisbech district previous to the amalgamation of the Midland and Great Northern Railways in 1890, was 9s. 2d. per ton; that in 1890 it was raised to 12s. 6d., and that the new rate is now 14s. 6d. per ton; that vegetables (brussels sprouts, &c.), previous to 1890, for antler one ton, was 13s. 4d., station to station; that, since the amalgamation of the Great Northern and Midland Railways, the rate has risen to 26s. 8d., and that it is now 28s. 6d., or more than double the rate previous to 1890; and whether, in consideration of the extreme importance this question is to allotment holders and farmers, he will approach the Railway Companies with a view to a reduction of the rate on the above- 1707 mentioned articles to what it was previous to 1890?
§ MR. MUNDELLA
I have been in communication with the Great Northern Railway Company, and I am informed that the facts are not quite as stated in the hon. Member's question. It is admitted that on two ton lots of potatoes the price has been raised since 1890 from 9s. 2d. to 12s. 6d. per ton. On brussels sprouts, cabbages, &c., the Company deny there is any substantial increase, and there are other reductions to set against such increase. I shall be happy to show the hon. Gentleman the details. Upon the general question, I can only repeat that I am in daily communication with the Railway Association with the object of procuring a reduction in their rates.